I was recently sent an article, entitled “Digital Transformation – the time is now, but how?” by a colleague who wanted my thoughts on how to approach [digital] transformation. The title of the article was full of promise, the content less so.
This is the Big Consultancy, Traditional way of doing change … commission a big, slow, complex programme that needs lots of resources over a long period of time and gives consultancies plenty of opportunity to develop vapour and shelf ware!
Consultancies large and small are already tooling up armies of consultants to come and ‘help’ organisations with their Digital Transformation Programmes. They will tell you that you need to establish a new CAB formed of your most expensive and valuable company resources. You will need to embark on an extensive Stakeholder Engagement exercise; they will work with you to come up with a new Organisational Design and probably a new Target Operating Model. They will help you to build complex Business Cases and RFI/P’s; as a result, you will be inundated with PowerPoint decks, and Statements of Work. All of this will consume vast amounts of internal and external resources, and more critically, time.
By the time you are in a position to make a decision on how to proceed, the world (particularly your customers) will have moved on. By the time you get any tangible delivery approved by your CAB and delivered to your business, the chances are it will already be obsolete. But that is OK, because the Consultancy will be able to help you with more PowerPoint decks and a new Business Case. Of course, new entrants may be eating your lunch already and your competition may have taken a different approach to Digital Transformation and have the jump on you.
Alternatively, you could be the organisation getting the jump on the competition by looking beyond the traditional ways of working and realising that [digital] transformation requires a new approach and a change in culture from day one. You cannot wait six or twelve months before you even start thinking about implementing change. You need to start now!
Identify an area of the business that can be the seed for change. Identify a business outcome that is important to your customers and will make a real difference to them. Get out of the building, speak to your customers, establish a small focused team who can work in a lean way with a simple but powerful technology stack and get them to deliver that outcome to your customers.
Let them prove to the rest of the organisation that transformation is possible now and does not need to be difficult, expensive and time consuming. Then learn from and build on that success. This is where you will see the real transformation, by engaging all of your stakeholders immediately in something tangible and making a difference to them today.